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tv   [untitled]    March 16, 2012 5:30am-6:00am EDT

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israel. and you can call it a triangle relationship. and that has clearly guided a lot of what the u.s. does in the middle east and a relationship that was in some ways taken for granted, but can say in ordering american political choices in the middle east. there were people even before the revolution who were saying that that really -- the triangle of the relationship has run its course even before mubarak was remored. egypt was on a path to become independent. it succeeded to do that particularly in the 1990s, but in the past decade, there was less benefit, more marginalized, egyptians were uncomfortable with the narrow set of choices they were having even before the revolution. this is obviously now coming to the forefront in part because the country has unravelled as
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we've known it. i wonder, with with your thoughts on this, you know, knowing that you have considered the strategic picture during the cold war in which the peace treaty between israel len egypt emerged and the new relationship was defined, how you see that, is this an accurate picture that this relationship was running it's course even before the revolution? >> well, thank you very much for having me here. i'm delighted to be here. and i want to begin simply by reiterating my highest respect both for the late president sadat and mrs. sadat. knowing them many decades ago was a source inspiration and confidence because in president sadat, we had a partner for peace. a partner for peace, who was
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endowed with remarkable intelligence and great strategic boldness. i have to say, i particularly admired his strategic boldness. and it manifested itself in relationship to the two greatest issues that are involved in great strategic choices. it pertained to war, and it pertained to peace. and both of these, it took enormously difficult decisions. and gained strategic benefits from themselves more importantly for his country. it was a privilege to know him, and i know that mrs. sadat was a close partner, a confidant a person who par took of these decisions and that respect she represents today also, a great
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message that president sadat conveyed to us. namely the call for strategic boldness. now, turning to your question, at this stage, if you ask me about american egyptian relationship, i would not be advocating strategic boldness at this moment, because everything has to come in its right moment. i think mrs. sadat earlier in her brief comments used two words which in my judgment capsule ate what is needed. and these two words were patience and space. we have to give egypt space to define itself at a time of considerable political turmoil and uncertainty. and, therefore, also patience. we have to wait until that works itself out. but having said that, i think it's absolutely essential that
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we do what we can to preserve a close strategic relationship with egypt because egypt is the major player in the region. and a good american egyptian relationship is one of the key foundations of a meaningful and relevant american policy toward the region. if we have that relationship, we can also move on other issues. and, of course, one of the issues in which we tried to move forward together with egypt, and we didn't get as far as one had hoped. and subsequently we even stalled the question of the israeli reconciliation and peace. there's not going to be peace in the middle east, real peace without that. and worse than that, in the absence of that, other issues tend to become increasingly dangerous. and right now our relationship with egypt is additionally
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important because we could be on the brink if we make mistakes. if we are overly cautious. if we're not prepared to assert american national interests openly, we could be facing the conjunction of several significant conflicts in the area, in addition to the one i've already mentioned which cries for resolution, and which will never be resolved with direct american involvement. there is the risk of some conflict with iran. if that should take place, it is almost inevitable that our current difficulties in afghanistan will get greater, that iraq will become more unstable. and that these unstable conditions could merge and intensify the difficulties in syria. we could have a situation in which we confront a series of
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interactive crisis in the region. so that cumulatively emphasizes the need for a broadly conceived and energetically undertaken american strategy in which among the key players, with whom we have to be engaged in addition to the american israeli connection is america/egypt, america/turkey. america saudi arabia. >> now, when you endorse what mrs. sadat said about patience and space, does our political system really ever have patience? can it allow space? i mean, you know, you have the ngo crisis which on the big scale of things doesn't seem to be a huge crisis, although obviously important for those who are involved. and you had people calling for economic aide to egypt. you have the muslim brotherhood do well in the elections, made a
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lot of people uncomfortable. do we have the patience? what does it take to have that patience? >> well, we better have that patience first of all. because we don't have it, we're going to be faced with with other things which will not be very comfortable for us. i mentioned some them. we have to be patient, but we have to have a strategic vision for the regionp. i'm afraid we no logger have a strategic vision for the region, and worse we're gradually being pushed out of the regi drifting the region. i remember when i went to the u.s. government, we had good relations with the foremost important countries in the region, iran, saudi arabia, egypt and turkey. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008
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